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Commuters: Stop jaywalking.
Local governments sometimes find themselves regulating odd details of people’s daily lives, from what kind of yard art they may display to what they should do with what their dogs leave behind on the sidewalk.
On Tuesday night, Fredericksburg’s City Council took a crack at something along those lines–trying to get people to stop walking in front of oncoming traffic.
It seems the folks who get off the Virginia Railway Express trains from up north are so stressed out when they end the locomotive leg of their commutes that they’re fleeing with reckless abandon across Princess Anne Street to get to their cars and head home.
A video that city police showed council members this week showed one gentleman amid a crowd walk in front of oncoming cars as if he had horse blinders on, less than 100 feet from the designated pedestrian crosswalk.
Police Chief David Nye admitted the solution to the problem isn’t rocket science–his department is proposing to put a two-foot-wide, three-foot-tall decorative concrete barrier down most of the length of Princess Anne between the railroad bridge and Frederick Street.
They’ll move the pedestrian crosswalk from under the bridge to the Frederick Street intersection, move the bus stop closer to that intersection and eliminate on-street parking on that block to help make sure motorists see pedestrians at the crosswalk when they come out from under the bridge.
The barrier looks like a stone wall, and police officer James Kuebler said it’s the same barrier that was put around the Washington Monument.
To keep skateboarders off of it and to deter business-suit-clad commuters from trying to leap over it, police plan to put some kind of fence–not chain-link–atop the barrier.
And if for some reason that’s not enough to keep the hurried commuter from climbing, Kuebler said, “There’s going to be a police officer on the other side waiting for them with a ticket for jaywalking.”
The barrier is expected to cost around $20,000, and the city would use the proceeds of the two-cent gas tax it collects to pay for that.
“I hope the citizens of Spotsylvania appreciate the efforts the city has at keeping them safe,” Mayor Tom Tomzak said, referring to the fact that many Spotsylvania VRE commuters fill the city’s parking lots, while the county’s Board of Supervisors objects to joining the commuter rail service.
“I can see why they’re hurrying,” Tomzak joked. “They’ve got another 30-minute trip ahead of them.”